One of the crucial stages in the Cycles of the Ultimate Patient Experience is the Handover of the Patient from the Dental Chairside Assistant to the Front Office Person responsible for the check out of the patient.

The purpose of the Handover is to communicate clearly and precisely to the Front Office Person *ALL* the correct and essential information that the Front Office Person requires to allow them to complete the Perfect Ultimate Patient Check Out and the Ultimate Post-appointment Building Block.

Laid over the top of the necessary information that needs to be transferred is the necessity of making sure that the transfer of information maintains the familiarity of a conversation *involving* the patient as opposed to a discussion “about” the patient or worse still, become a dialogue *only* between the two team members with the patient present but being treated as if they were invisible.

The results of a poor handover are that the Front Office Person does not have all the information they need to ensure that the patient is appointed clearly to the *Clear Next Step* that they need to take in their journey to dental health.

Without the correct information, the Front Office Person does not have all the resources required to correctly direct the patient’s dental journey.

Without that information, the Front Office Person sometimes has to guess exactly what the patient’s next step will be.

Sometimes the Front Office Person has to ask the patient.

This can be awkward, as the patient may not remember what is needed or the patient may be unsure as to whether they want or need to proceed with the required diagnosed and presented treatment.

This creates an element of indecision for the patient. If the Front Office Person is unsure of exactly what is required, then the patient too becomes undecided as to what their next step should be.

The Front Office Person relies on receiving all the information they need from the Dental Assistant.

It is the duty of the Dental Assistant to provide the Front Office Person with all of that information. It is the role of the Dental Assistant to know exactly all of the information the Front Office Person requires to ensure that Clear Next Step for the departing patient.

It is the role and the duty of the Dental Assistant to ensure that she collects all this information during the treatment appointment of the patient, and from the dentist at the completion of the treatment.

A great Dental Assistant knows the importance of her duty in this process. Her ability to transfer this information seamlessly to the Front Office Person ensures that the patient happily continues with their necessary appointments to continue on their road to dental health.

Touching lightly on this process, but just as important, is the role of the dentist in transferring information to the Dental Assistant, along with ensuring that the patient understands exactly what treatment they just had completed, and what treatment they will be having at their next and subsequent dental appointments. We’ll discuss the intricacies of this handover from the dentist to the Dental Assistant at the completion of the treatment stage in future blogs.

What are the consequences of a poor hand over to the dental Front Office Person?

Simply put, patients will be leaving the dental office without appointments to get all their diagnosed treatment completed. This means patients with dental liabilities roaming around in the community.

Dental liabilities only rear themselves later on as dental emergencies or dental relief of pain.

The patient is never a winner in this situation.

Failure to ensure the diagnosed treatment is accepted and booked and completed is a lose-lose for the patient.

It is also a lose-lose for the dental office. It creates a patient with a time bomb situation needing future emergency treatment for work not scheduled that should have been scheduled, but wasn’t scheduled because of careless processes and procedures and protocols.

It is also work that should have been completed and paid for to the dental office. Completion of all diagnosed treatment ensures a financially healthy dental office and a healthy and happy work environment.

What can be the reasons for a poor handover from the Dental Assistant?

These reasons are simple.

You either have an employee dedicated to the process of providing ultimate patient experiences and exceptional customer service, or you don’t.

If they are dedicated to the process, then they need to have the back up recourses within the dental office to support them as they provide the ultimate handover.

First of all, the Ultimate Handover requires time. The Dental Assistant needs to spend time handing over. She cannot be abbreviating the process because she feels she has to rush away to other duties. All other duties need to wait. The handover, and the patient, are the most important at this point in time. Nothing else matters or rates.

For this to happen, the dental office needs to be sufficiently staffed so that treatment rooms can be torn down and set up independent of the handover. Better still, sufficient staff and also sufficient available treatment rooms allows for the handover to happen without distraction.

The benefits of having a perfect handover are clear and definite. Not providing the staffing, time and resources to allow for the perfect handover are harming your dental practice, your patients, and their necessary treatment.

The choice is yours…are you making the right choices?


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business